From homelessness to trainee chef - Berkhamsted teenager has her life transformed by support from County Council Services for Young People

The Hertfordshire Skills and Employment Strategy provides a roadmap out of the pandemic up to 2024

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 9:34 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 9:36 am
Ashlin Bailey recently started her first job as a trainee chef

A teenager from Berkhamsted had her life transformed by the 'Not in Education, Employment, or Training' (NEET) support provided by Hertfordshire County Council Services for Young People (HCC SYFP).

Ashlin Bailey, 18, recently started her first job as a trainee chef after a challenging few years which included a spell of homelessness and finding herself out of education, training or employment.

Ashlin received much-needed support from Personal Advisers in finding accommodation after she became homeless due to challenging family circumstances while at Secondary School.

After completing her GCSEs and leaving school, Ashlin then embarked on the HCC SFYP Pathways to Success programme to help prepare her for her next step in education, training or work.

Delivered remotely during lockdown, the course covered interview skills CV writing, filling in job applications and career options. This led to Ashlin successfully gaining a place at college to study music.

She said: “I started the college course, but it just wasn’t for me, I thought it would be a lot different from school, but it wasn’t.

"After leaving the course I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do but my Employment and Training Adviser Emma helped me so much. She helped me to do a CV and also sent me job vacancies to apply for and we did practice interviews. She’s been brilliant.”

Ashlin was also supported by a HCC SFYP Employment and Training Adviser to set herself clear goals and she successfully completed The Prince's Trust TEAM Programme, a free 12-week personal development course for 16 to 25-year-olds.

This was a huge achievement for Ashlin and gave her the confidence of completing a course, while gaining new skills, obtaining a qualification and engaging with new people, albeit remotely during lockdown. She then began to apply for jobs.

She said: “I applied for quite a few jobs after leaving college. I’d only done practice interviews before I went for my first real interview for a job as a trainee chef in a local pub.

"The manager told me straight after the interview that I’d got the job and I felt so happy.

“It’s my first job and I’m really enjoying it. Services for Young People have been a real help to me – I’ve now got a home and a job which I wouldn’t have been able to do without them.

"They have supported me through so much, it’s unreal.”

Asked what her ambitions were for the future, Ashlin said: “I’m really enjoying working as a chef and would like to make a career of it.

"Another option is becoming a Youth Worker – they’ve really inspired me at Services for Young People.

“If it wasn’t for this amazing team of people, I wouldn’t be where I am today, they’ve supported me one hundred percent.”

Hertfordshire County Council, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), in consultation with partners from across the county, have published the third Hertfordshire Skills and Employment Strategy.

The strategy provides a roadmap out of the pandemic up to 2024 by accelerating and strengthening skills provision to meet employers’ needs and helping businesses thrive, whilst supporting residents to reach their potential.

One of the core themes of the strategy is unlocking emerging talent, support for young people aged 16 to 24.

Action to support this age group into employment includes increasing uptake of apprenticeships and technical pathways while enhancing vulnerable young people’s skillsets and reducing the already lower than national average number of under 25s Not in Education, Employment, or Training.